Cornyn: Senate to vote on defunding Planned Parenthood

Cornyn: Senate to vote on defunding Planned Parenthood

The No. 2 Senate Republican on Monday promised a vote to defund Planned Parenthood “as soon as this week.”

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynHouse passes bill to expedite financial disclosures from judges McConnell leaves GOP in dark on debt ceiling Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default MORE (R-Texas) made the announcement on Twitter late Monday as the Senate prepared for a late-night vote on the highway funding bill — a measure that several Republicans hoped would include a Planned Parenthood amendment.

Senate GOP leaders had already decided on Friday to fast-track the Planned Parenthood funding bill onto the floor, facing mounting pressure from rank-and-file Republicans outraged by the organization’s undercover video scandal.

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Planned Parenthood has been targeted by an anti-abortion group that is using hidden camera footage that claims Planned Parenthood is making illegal deals in its fetal tissue donation program.

Defunding the women's health provider has become a major sticking point in the power battle between Senate leadership and a small core of conservatives, led by Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight On The Money — Congress races to keep the lights on House sets up Senate shutdown showdown MORE (R-Texas) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight On The Money — Congress races to keep the lights on House sets up Senate shutdown showdown MORE (R-Utah), that came to a head over the last week.

A trio of firebrand GOP senators — Lee, Cruz and Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' MORE (R-Ky.) — had tried to force a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood by attaching it as an amendment to the highway bill. The effort to do so was rebuked by the vast majority of their GOP colleagues on Sunday.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) claimed during a fiery Senate floor speech on Friday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight House sets up Senate shutdown showdown Biden says he doesn't believe a government shutdown will happen MORE (R-Ky.) was blocking the vote.

"There are a host of amendments that the American people are focused on, things like defunding Planned Parenthood after the gruesome video,” Cruz said during a floor speech condemning McConnell. “The majority leader doesn't want to vote on that. That's actually something the American people are focused on."

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During the next session, Cornyn took the floor with a fierce rebuttal against his junior Texas colleague, blasting his strategy as “a terrible mistake.”

Momentum is also growing in the House for a vote to defund Planned Parenthood. The chamber’s No. 2 Republican, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), said Monday he supports a moratorium on the group’s funding until investigations can prove the group was not involved in any wrongdoing, as claimed by the videos.

It’s not clear if the Senate bill would impose a temporary ban on federal funding during the ongoing investigations or if the measure would be intended to be more permanent.

Either way, it is sure to be halted by the Obama administration, which has publicly defended Planned Parenthood.